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Discussion Starter #1
Just heard on France 24 that the Fessenheim nuclear plant is closing. One reactor off this weekend, the other in July.

These are the oldest reactors in France to still be in operation, AFAIK. 40 year design lifetime, and they are at/just past the end of that.

Not for much longer. France's new target is 50% nuclear with the rest from renewables. This is from 75% today, which is already less than its peak, I think it hit 85% nuclear at one point?

I think the objective is fine, but a base load source has to be sustained, in any country (nuclear or otherwise), and the source of medical and other essential isotopes needs to be considered.
 

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I think the objective is fine, but a base load source has to be sustained, in any country (nuclear or otherwise), and the source of medical and other essential isotopes needs to be considered.
You can get all the medical isotopes you need from small experimental reactors like the one at Oak Ridge.

Base load can be gas, or whatever remaining nuclear we have. In 50 years imagine what battery storage tech will be like?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You can get all the medical isotopes you need from small experimental reactors like the one at Oak Ridge.
You won't get much Mo99 like that (for the Tc99m). Most of it will be gone by the time it lands in the UK.

Some isotopes can be made by neutron activation (you are probably thinking of the high flux reactor), others can't be and are made from nuclear rods directly from a working high power reactor.
 

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I wonder why the OP didn't just say that this particular reactor poses a high risk to the local French, German and Swiss population due to seismic and flooding factors and that since Fukushima,, these risks have become technically and politically unacceptable. I wonder why the OP raised the red herrings of medical isotopes instead of just stating the actual reasons for the closure: very strange!
 

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The CEO of EDF said about 2 years ago that the era of the large generating station was over (or mots to that effect).
 

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50% nuclear seems fine for for baseload to me?
I mean we are running 30% gas?

You could use the spare heat to crack water into hydrogen and have a hydrogen storage oand generator on each site to allow the reactors to peak.

Ow wait highly explosive gas and nuclear reactor....

Although the French are une tres lasaiz faire
 

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..states the company building Hinkley Point C ?
When a dark-ages government offers you guaranteed £30bn index-linked subsidies for 35 years, small matters like technical and economic realities don't matter!

We can remember the renewable-hating fracking-crazy 2010s Tories when we finish paying off their subsidies in our energy bills in the year 2060...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I wonder why the OP didn't just say that this particular reactor poses a high risk to the local French, German and Swiss population due to seismic and flooding factors and that since Fukushima,, these risks have become technically and politically unacceptable. I wonder why the OP raised the red herrings of medical isotopes instead of just stating the actual reasons for the closure: very strange!
I have not seen any evidence to that effect. If you have, and would like to share it, I am happy to do so.

The reason Fukushma was a Fukushukup was because of incompetent design specification. It was built to withstand 10m tsunamis in a region which had recorded 30m tsunamis. The borderland of France is not known for tsunamis.

But feel free to correct me with further information.

Fessenheim has always been a bone of contention between the French and their neighbours, you have probably been reading into that, there have been demonstrations and objects there since before it was even built, 40 years ago, it is now past the end of its 40 year design life. Building a nuclear plant on the border with another country who might not appreciate the presence of such a reactor is a bit rude, and Germans were revolting back then. It had no effect. The Swedes did it to the anti-nuclear Danes too, albeit across the narrow sea to Copenhagen.
 

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I have not seen any evidence to that effect. If you have, and would like to share it, I am happy to do so.

The reason Fukushma was a Fukushukup was because of incompetent design specification. It was built to withstand 10m tsunamis in a region which had recorded 30m tsunamis. The borderland of France is not known for tsunamis.

But feel free to correct me with further information.

Fessenheim has always been a bone of contention between the French and their neighbours, you have probably been reading into that, there have been demonstrations and objects there since before it was even built, 40 years ago, it is now past the end of its 40 year design life. Building a nuclear plant on the border with another country who might not appreciate the presence of such a reactor is a bit rude, and Germans were revolting back then. It had no effect. The Swedes did it to the anti-nuclear Danes too, albeit across the narrow sea to Copenhagen.
The assessment of nuclear risk assuming variables are independent goes much further than Fukushima, Japan, Asia or just the nuclear industry.

The nuclear safety case assumption that if risk of one device failing is p, providing four makes the risk of all failing p^4 is a fallacy that has been demonstrated in many major accidents.

Sadly as long as the people doing the safety assessment are paid by the company that has to pay for the safety measures, there is little incentive to be challenging. Management actions in practice rarely support their grand stated intentions.
 

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OP, you have been corrected. Plenty of documented evidence about specific flooding and seismic risk for that particular nuclear site and as previously stated, medical isotopes provision is a total click bait.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OP, you have been corrected. Plenty of documented evidence about specific flooding and seismic risk for that particular nuclear site and as previously stated, medical isotopes provision is a total click bait.
It should be easy for you to link me to such documented evidence then, if it is so plentiful? If you could oblige I will read it with interest.

Medical isotopes are not click bait but have become an essential requirement for modern medicine. I do not know whether Fessenheim played a big role in that, I did not suggest it did and don't recall being aware of supply from there, I was discussing the wider role of nuclear fission at that point. But others are geared up to deliver not only medical but as I mentioned other essential isotopes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The assessment of nuclear risk assuming variables are independent goes much further than Fukushima, Japan, Asia or just the nuclear industry.

The nuclear safety case assumption that if risk of one device failing is p, providing four makes the risk of all failing p^4 is a fallacy that has been demonstrated in many major accidents.

Sadly as long as the people doing the safety assessment are paid by the company that has to pay for the safety measures, there is little incentive to be challenging. Management actions in practice rarely support their grand stated intentions.
Fukushima wasn't like that. It was one single simplistic and over-optimistic assumption. Design a scheme with passive cooling and the specific problem with Fukushima disappear.

Design is all important. An ultra-safe reactor design was produced in the 1950s and so safe there are about 50 of that design installed in universities, even some schools, around the world.

I am not proposing Fessenheim was of an ultra-safe variety, I am not mourning its passing, but I am flagging the action to reduce nuclear energy contribution. I agree that there is no reason not to when renewable alternatives now exist, that is good.

But we need to maintain power generation for national security that relies on something a little more reliable than the weather!!

The expression 'make hay while the sun shines' is apt here; we have a national security interest in making hay all the time, because the barns we make to store the hay can't be made big enough. The question is how to make hay all the time, and/or build bigger barns, without relying on burning dead dinosaurs imported from countries at war (also of questionable reliability).
 

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Fukushima wasn't like that. It was one single simplistic and over-optimistic assumption. Design a scheme with passive cooling and the specific problem with Fukushima disappear.

Design is all important. An ultra-safe reactor design was produced in the 1950s and so safe there are about 50 of that design installed in universities, even some schools, around the world.

I am not proposing Fessenheim was of an ultra-safe variety, I am not mourning its passing, but I am flagging the action to reduce nuclear energy contribution. I agree that there is no reason not to when renewable alternatives now exist, that is good.

But we need to maintain power generation for national security that relies on something a little more reliable than the weather!!

The expression 'make hay while the sun shines' is apt here; we have a national security interest in making hay all the time, because the barns we make to store the hay can't be made big enough. The question is how to make hay all the time, and/or build bigger barns, without relying on burning dead dinosaurs imported from countries at war (also of questionable reliability).
I am not going to enter a discussion about whether there is a simple answer offering affordable and safe nuclear power. The market will ultimately answer that question.

But to continue your analogy, across the continent somewhere the sun is shining all the time. And history shows us that while within a country weather may reduce renewable generation for days, common mode faults and sometimes just bad luck can reduce nuclear generation for months. That’s much harder for flexible demand (or storage) to ride out.

For the price of nuclear power, you can have a lot more renewable power, at a cost that makes flexibility more attractive.

Regarding national security, history suggests this is best achieved through stable, mutually dependent economic alliances, not through self-sufficiency and military strength.

Unfortunately, it seems that we have enjoyed the benefits of that for long enough that most people (at least those under 75) have never experienced the alternative.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
But to continue your analogy, across the continent somewhere the sun is shining all the time.
Are you forgetting about night time? ..errr...

As for wind, in the UK, a very windy place showered with Atlantic weather, we get periods of 4 hours of zero [productive] wind across the whole country at least once every 2 weeks, and a third of the time it is generating less than 10% of capacity.

We have to have a viable solution for night time + no wind + no fossil fuels + insufficient storage capacity.

The answer is .... ?

And history shows us that while within a country weather may reduce renewable generation for days, common mode faults and sometimes just bad luck can reduce nuclear generation for months.
That's why you have more than one of them. Have 50, and 4 or 5 'spare'. About 1.1 x what you need. Your proposition there is just to have enough and some contingency. The issue with wind is that you need 10 x what you actually need, and sometimes even that is not enough.

You've been corrected, I've provided you the facts, please provide your response for the question above.
 

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For the price of nuclear power, you can have a lot more renewable power, at a cost that makes flexibility more attractive.
Not if you compare like with like.

Renewables need backup. That's either gas, CO2 producing or carbon capture, or storage. Dinorwig is the most cost effective storage available on the grid, and provides about 20 minutes of grid demand (I'd it could achieve that output) for £1Bn (adjusted for inflation). The only problem is there are very few places we can build Dinorwig. And even then we would need to build dramatically more renewables than we could consume at any one time to ensure we have stored energy.

Until we have some miracle in battery coat and availability, we need nuclear to achieve a Zero emissions grid. We could do that today. And regardless of costs, it's a climate emergency, or hadn't you heard?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Until we have some miracle in battery coat and availability, we need nuclear to achieve a Zero emissions grid. We could do that today. And regardless of costs, it's a climate emergency, or hadn't you heard?
Ouch. Using environmentalists' argument to promote nuclear ... that's gotta hurt! You bad boy, you.
 

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Not if you compare like with like.

Renewables need backup. That's either gas, CO2 producing or carbon capture, or storage. Dinorwig is the most cost effective storage available on the grid, and provides about 20 minutes of grid demand (I'd it could achieve that output) for £1Bn (adjusted for inflation). The only problem is there are very few places we can build Dinorwig. And even then we would need to build dramatically more renewables than we could consume at any one time to ensure we have stored energy.

Until we have some miracle in battery coat and availability, we need nuclear to achieve a Zero emissions grid. We could do that today. And regardless of costs, it's a climate emergency, or hadn't you heard?
Nuclear needs backup. Unless you wanted the lights off for several years in the last decade. It is also highly inflexible and therefore expensive to operate in a world where you are not relying on gas to make up the variation in demand.

I assume you have factored the cost of backup (and multi-GW short term reserve) into the economics of nuclear. Or have you assumed someone else is paying for that, when four or five plants going off line knocks off 25% of the grid's capacity? Or 50% in the case of France last year? Or are new build nuclear perfectly safe and 100% available with no flaws to be found and fixed later?

You seem to conveniently ignore the costs of nuclear while happily treating the availability of renewables in an interconnected grid like that of a solar panel in your back garden. The studies and costs are behind renewables, not nuclear, however much Donald Trump, Tory ministers and the Daily Telegraph try and fit the facts to their world view. As the Tories poured subsidies into coal, gas and nuclear over the last decade based on this myth, why did OfGEM and the National Audit Office both review the policy and declare it unnecessary and wasteful?

As we aren't going to agree, time and economics will tell. If new build safe, reliable and cheap nuclear exists, why are the handful of projects left in Europe demanding escalating subsidies (with zero commercial projects in the pipeline), while renewables are consistently proving the cheapest form of new-build capacity, (with some subsidy-free projects emerging) even as nuclear demands government underwriting and "investment"?
 

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Ouch. Using environmentalists' argument to promote nuclear ... that's gotta hurt! You bad boy, you.
I often wade into the murky depths of anti-nuclear discussion on local forums because they all get in a huff about Hinkley dredging being disposed off Cardiff Bay.

They're often attracted by the offer of a long term, reliable, low-CO2 (a lot of concrete) solution available now and with a proven history of safety in the UK (and globally).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I often wade into the murky depths of anti-nuclear discussion on local forums because they all get in a huff about Hinkley dredging being disposed off Cardiff Bay.

They're often attracted by the offer of a long term, reliable, low-CO2 (a lot of concrete) solution available now and with a proven history of safety in the UK (and globally).
The thing is, your point is simply a very solid argument.

Do we want to survive the next 100 years on this planet, and maybe, OK, so we end up with a pile of nuclear waste that we'll have to deal with somehow, or ... just die out?

The story of impending environmental disaster has been wound up to such a degree that (and taking it at face value) we can afford to suffer a few dozen Fukushimas and, OK, bad news but at least we're still here to clean the place up. And all we know now, reactors can be built that much more safely.
 
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